Thursday, December 22, 2011

Triathlon Training - Reflecting on an excellent question posed to me on Daily Mile.....

About a week ago I asked this question by an amazing person/athlete/father Josiah Campbell who helped me accomplish my first marathon as we ran together.

Going from running to triathlon; how are you adapting from 1 (main) discipline to 3? I'm curious how your body is reacting but also how you deal with it mentally, what's your drive?

This is an excellent question. Such a good question that I have taken over a week to answer it and have decided to make a blog post about it. It has caused me to pause and actually take time to think about myself and what really drives me.

Let's start with the first part of the question: How am I adapting from 1 discipline to 3?

I thought that I would really struggle switching to learning 3 sports. Just  little background info on myself. I started running pretty regularly a little over a year ago. Prior to that I did not run much at all, but played lots of basketball and other activities. I do not come from a running background nor do I look like a runner either. So, with that being said I was not sure how I would cope. I am about 4 weeks into my triathlon training and I am finding myself loving what I do each day. I have not had a single day yet where I have dreaded getting up to work out. Part of this is the fact that biking and swimming are completely new to me. I just started riding 4 weeks ago when I purchased my $80 road bike. Swimming is also brand new to me as well. I have so much to learn so each time I jump in the pool or the saddle I feel like I am learning so many new things about myself and the discipline. Things have not become redundant for me.

Surprisingly, the hardest thing I have had to deal with is the running. I am used to running 4-6 days a week and to only run two days a week felt weird and awkward. I felt like I should either be running faster or longer, but had to continue to remind myself that I was working out six days a week so the body was being pushed enough in the water and the bike. I have finally come to terms with not running as often. My running has been greatly benefited by running with others two days a week and now I have added a third run just in the last few weeks with the guys training for Leadville. This has quenched my running needs. As my training volume increases come 2012 I don't think I will have such a desire to run more.

In terms of the second question:  I'm curious how your body is reacting but also how you deal with it mentally, what's your drive?

My body has adapted well. I have not been overly sore. My legs are tired from time to time and my shoulders have been sore from swimming and also trying to get in weight lifting session. I have literally zero swimming experience so swimming 2 plus miles a week has taken a toll on the shoulders. The joints are starting to adapt, but that has probably been the hardest part for my body. I must include my butt on the bike as well. I will admit that I have been quite tired since I started training. Part of this is because I wake up at 4:23 each day. The other part is that my body is being pushed in new ways.

My drive is personal. I completed the marathon and needed something new. I lost my drive after I completed my goal. I spent two weeks relaxing and recovering and just could not find the joy in running. I signed up for some fun races like the Living History Farms race to help me get going. Finally, I just went out and enjoyed running again and I decided that I could not run all winter. The triathlon has always been on my mind and now seemed like a great time to give it a try. I have spent all December just getting acquainted with the sports and getting used to finding a training schedule that works. I have taken things nice and easy without any desperate rush to be fit for this race or that. The key is that I have plan. I planned for December to be this way. I am currently following what I call a 12 week sprint triathlon plan. Following that I will then go all in with a 20 week Half Ironman plan getting me ready for mid July race at either Indiana or Wisconsin. Everything I do is intrinsic to see what I am capable of doing. I want to know more about myself and who I am. This training gives me the peace of mind on long runs to gather my thoughts and the challenges to test my stregth and will while on the bike and swim. It allows me to get everything in that I need to keep me at peace with myself which helps my family as well.

I only hope I continue to love training each day. There is such an awesome support group of athletes in the QC area to help me when I have questions or need accountability. When it all comes down to it I just want to represent my motto of GETTING IT DONE! This chapter in my life is what I am working on to do just that.


Josiah said...

Great response to a great question, although I had been curious and even thought about asking this question, I can't take credit for asking it, I believe it was asked by a Joseph, easy mistake :-)

This does give me good insight for my upcoming introduction to triathlons, also being someone used to only running 5-6 days a week. I'm looking forward to the challenge and sharing some experiences as well as reading about and learning from yours.

Rhona said...

Interesting post, especially that you struggled with running less initially! How are things going now? Are you into your half-ironman plan? Howe are you shoulders holding up? I have some exercises to improve strength and stability of the shoulders for swim training on my site if you're still struggling:

Good luck with the training, look forward to hearing how you get on with the half-ironman.